Make Mac and Cheese Like Martha
by Rachel Mount Hofstetter
I stopped by Martha Stewart’s test kitchen the other day to check out her new show, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.” I was surprised to see a straightforward, no shortcuts, no fireworks approach to cooking—the “course schedule” is even based off the classic culinary school syllabus.
Each episode is devoted to a single concept, like eggs, sauces, poaching, braising, and roasting. Using basic techniques, Martha whipped up this delicious mac and cheese in the course of 30 fast minutes. It starts with a flour-butter sauce called a roux, which is then mixed with cheese, cooked noodles, and dashes of nutmeg and cayenne for a little something-something. That’s it, and the results are seriously amazing.
Here’s the recipe: You can follow along with Martha when the episode airs on October 13th or 14th, depending on your area.
Macaroni and Cheese
• 1/2 pound dried elbow macaroni
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 cups whole milk
• 1/2 cup finely grated Italian fontina cheese
• 2/3 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
• 1 2/3 cups finely grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• Pinch of white pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add pasta; salt generously and cook pasta to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
2. Melt butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon (scrape across the bottom and around edge of pot to prevent scorching), until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add fontina, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, add cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
4. Add pasta to sauce along with white pepper and salt; stir to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately.